The best bean-to-cup coffee machines for coffee connoisseurs
There’s nothing quite like the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, is there? The secret to a great tasting cup of coffee? Freshly ground coffee beans – which is why a bean-to-cup coffee machine is the perfect choice for serious coffee lovers. Cappuccino, flat white, espresso, Americano – you can enjoy all your coffee shop favourites from the comfort of your own home with one of our trusty coffee machines. From the clever does-it-all-for you machines to the machines that’ll let you unleash your inner barista, the bells-and-whistles to the budget, the Delonghi to the Sage, we’ll help you find the best bean-to-cup coffee machine for you.
Before you buy: How do you know which coffee machine is right for you?
Searching for a new coffee machine can feel a bit like being hit by a tidal wave of jargon. What is a burr grinder? What is bar pressure? Should it be high? What is a hopper? What is coffee??? To help you make an informed decision when buying your coffee machine, and to avoid a jargon-induced existential coffee crisis, we’ve busted the jargon for you.
- Bean-to-cup – With a bean-to-cup coffee machine, the coffee grinder is built into the machine, so you can fill your machine up with your favourite coffee beans, and the machine will grind the correct amount for your coffee each time, resulting in a top-quality brew. So if you’re a dedicated coffee lover, these are the machines for you.
- Burr grinder – Grinds coffee beans by rubbing them between two abrasive surfaces. Most coffee aficionados favour burr grinders over blade grinder as the process results in uniform grind sizes (which can be varied to suit the type of coffee you want to make). Why do you want your coffee grinds uniform? It leads to a better-tasting coffee.
- Bean hopper – The container at the top of your coffee machine that holds the coffee beans ready to be ground. So the bigger the hopper, the more coffees you can make before having to refill it.
- Bar pressure – This refers to the pressure of the water being forced through the coffee grounds. 9-bar pressure is generally believed to be the optimum pressure for ultimate flavour extraction from your coffee grounds.
Must-have coffee machine features
- Adjustable grind – Different coffees need different sized grains to achieve the best taste, so you want a grinder that has adjustable grind settings to cater for all of the different types of coffee you like to make. For example, you want coarse grains for Americanos, and finer grains for espressos.
- Easy to clean – You want to spend your time drinking perfect coffee, not cleaning your machine, so look for one with easy-clean features like auto-cleaning functions and parts that come apart easily. It’s important to remember to clean your machine regularly and use a descaler, as not only will this make your machine last longer, it will ensure your coffee tastes good too. A dirty machine isn’t going to produce the best taste.
- Milk frother – If you like your cappuccinos, flat whites and lattes, a coffee machine with a milk frother is a must.
- Touchscreen – Kind of like having a computer on your coffee machine, touchscreen controls allow you to easily select the setting, or type of coffee, you want.
- Warming tray – If your machine makes filter coffee, a warming tray can be really useful when making big jugs of coffee as it’ll keep it warm for longer – perfect for busy days when you need to keep topped up on caffeine. They can also be used for warming up your cups before filling with coffee.
- Preset coffee menu – If you want fancy coffees the easy way, some high-end machines allow you to select the type of coffee you want, before kindly doing all the work for you… it’s a bit like having your own barista in your kitchen.
The best bean-to-cup coffee machine for you
We’ve gathered some of our favourite bean-to-cup coffee machines below, each with a handy guide to make it easier to compare and select the right machine for your needs. You can find out even more about each machine on our website.
Best all-rounder – Sage Barista Pro
|Reasons to buy||
|Specifications||2 litre water tank. 250g bean hopper. 35 x 41 x 41cm H. Flex 1m. 1680W. 9-bar pressure.|
Create café-style coffees in the comfort of your own home with The Barista Pro from the coffee experts at Sage. Finished in their trademark brushed stainless steel, this feature-packed machine dispenses a range of coffees and offers precise control for a perfect cup every time.
A precision-weighed batch of your coffee beans is freshly ground by the integrated burr coffee grinder on demand for every single cup, so all you have to do is tamp and trim with Sage’s unique Razor tool and you’re good to go. The burr grinder has adjustable grind and dose size so you can create the perfect coffee for your taste.
Then the real magic begins… the machine starts with a slow, low pressure pre-infusion to maximise flavour extraction, and then builds to 9-bar pressure just like coffee-shop machines to ensure a rich and creamy espresso. And thanks to the integrated steam wand, you can then transform your espresso into a latte, cappuccino, flat white… whatever you fancy. You get to select exactly how thick and creamy your frothy coffee will be for a drink that’s perfectly tailored for you.
Best for tighter budgets – Lakeland Filter Coffee Machine
|Reasons to buy||
|Specifications||600ml water tank. 28g bean hopper. 28.5 x 23 x 33cm H. Flex 70cm. 600W.|
If you like a simple, yet delicious, cup of black coffee to start your day, this is the one for you. The integrated grinder in our sleek little machine means you can enjoy freshly ground, bean-to-cup coffee without any faff whenever the fancy takes you. And if you only have bags of ground coffee in the cupboard, worry not – it can switch from beans to grounds at the touch of a button. The easy-to-use LCD touchscreen also lets you set coffee strength and size, making either 2 or 4 cups of coffee, while its contemporary good looks make it a stylish addition to any kitchen.
Its compact footprint makes it perfect for smaller kitchens, and it’ll even fit on your bedside table – just the ticket if you need your coffee before you can function in the morning. And thanks to its keep-warm function, you can enjoy a late morning caffeine fix without having to make another pot. The only question left to ask is: milk or sugar? We’ll take both, thanks!
Best compact coffee machine – De’Longhi PrimaDonna Soul Automatic Coffee Machine
|Reasons to buy||
|Specifications||2.2 litre water tank. 500g bean hopper. 26 x 48.5 x 39cm H. Flex 1m. 1450W. 19-bar pressure.|
It may be compact, but it packs quite the coffee punch. The first automatic coffee machine that adapts its settings depending on the coffee beans you use, you won’t need to worry about the techy stuff like grinding levels, coffee doses or the infusion temperature for different types of coffee beans – just add your beans and the PrimaDonna adapts its settings to take care of everything, ensuring optimum extraction and the best flavour and aroma. The 4.3” screen makes it easy to select the coffee you’d like, making everything from cappuccinos and cortardos to lattes and long black at the touch of a button. It even froths the milk for you. And that’s not all. It’s compatible with De’Longhi’s smart Coffee Link App, which can be controlled from your smart phone and allows you to create, store and request your own personalised drinks.
Best high-end coffee machine – Sage The Oracle Touch Coffee Machine
|Reasons to buy||
|Specifications||2.5 litre water tank. 280g bean hopper. 37 x 41 x 45.5cm H. Flex 2m. 2400W. 9-bar pressure.|
Fabulously fuss-free, the smart stainless steel SageThe Oracle Touch is an espresso machine that lets you also add super-silky, perfectly textured milk to your coffees – just as if you had been to barista school. And, just like a commercial barista, you can make one or two coffees at a time, so there’s no need to queue behind your partner while they make their morning brew.
With a super-easy, swipe-and-select touchscreen menu, there’s also a Quick Start guide with a step-by-step tutorial if you need a little extra help. It’s ultra-easy to customise your drinks to suit personal taste, from the coarseness of the grind – thanks to the integrated burr grinder – to the temperature or texture of the milk. You can even programme the Oracle to switch itself on at a particular time of day to speed up production of that ‘life-saving’ brew. Plus, the dual boilers allow you to brew espresso and texture milk at the same time, making things even speedier.
Best coffee machine for beginners – De’Longhi Magnifica Evo Automatic Coffee Machine
|Reasons to buy||
|Specifications||1.8 litre water tank. 250g bean hopper. 24 x 36 x 44cm H. 9.6kg. Flex 1m. 1450W. 15-bar pressure.|
If you’re looking for a super-stylish machine to make fresh and authentic Italian coffee, from a creamy cappuccino to a latte macchiato, with no barista skills required, then you can stop looking – the De’Longhi Magnifica Evo Automatic Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine has all the right moves.
Grinding your favourite coffee beans fresh from its integral hopper, just before preparing your drink to preserve their rich aroma, its fully automated dosing and brewing system makes it easy to brew a range of your favourite coffees, with the option to customise your settings to prepare your coffee exactly how you like it.
Featuring an efficient heating system that makes sure the water is speedily heated to the ideal temperature, with a steam wand for heating or frothing milk in the traditional coffee-shop way – it’ll even dispense hot water so you can make a cup of tea.
The best coffee machine? The one that makes your favourite cup of coffee
Ultimately, one person’s best coffee machine is going to be different to another persons’, so we hope this guide has helped you find yours. If you like to keep it simple, a bean-to-cup filter coffee machine is for you. If you like your coffee shop-style beverages, but don’t have the time to perfect them yourself, the fully automated, does-it-all-for-you machines will be your new kitchen favourite. But if you want to embrace your inner barista, and enjoy crafting your own froth-covered creations to share with family and friends, an espresso machine with its own frothing wand is the one for you. Whichever bean to cup machine you opt for, one thing is guaranteed – a top-quality coffee. Now all you need to choose is which biscuit to have with it…